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CRFR considers contract with retiring chief

Fire chief will likely work part-time with district later in July

UPDATE: The Columbia River Fire and Rescue board of directors did not approve a work-back contract with retiring Fire Chief Jay Tappan, Thurday night, June 23. Read more about the vote here.

The Columbia River Fire and Rescue board of directors is expected to approve a work-back agreement with the district’s retiring fire chief this week.

CRFR Fire Chief Jay Tappan is scheduled to retire at the end of the month, but with an approved work-back contract he will continue to work part-time with CRFR for up to three months to aid in the fire chief transition process.

The CRFR board of directors was expected to vote Thursday night, June 23, to approve the contract during a special meeting.

The contract reemploys Tappan as a part-time employee with no Public Employee Retirement System benefits who will not work more than 90 days or exceed more than 1,039 hours worked. Tappan will only be paid for actual hours worked at a rate of $56.22 an hour and will work “his regularly scheduled 40-hours per week,” according to the contract. He will also retain full medical benefits.

A first draft of the contract initially required Tappan to perform as acting fire chief for no more than 90 days after his retirement, in order to help the transition of a newly hired fire chief. However, after the CRFR board of directors approved an intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday, June 14, that appoints Scappoose Fire District Fire Chief Mike Greisen to a joint fire chief position overseeing both CRFR and SFD for the next two years, board members asked the contract to be revised.

The proposed contract now states that Tappan will “perform duties as needed for the District to include transition responsibilities necessary pursuant to the Intergovernmental Agreement with Scappoose Fire ...”

Board member Josh Marks initially questioned whether Tappan needed to be offered to work 40 hours a week, or if the hours should be cut back to a limit of 20 to 30 hours, suggesting that Greisen would likely not need that much time to work with Tappan on transitioning fire chief duties.

At last week’s meeting, Greisen spoke to the board

after an audience member suggested they seek his in-put.

“I’m sure Jay and I can work it out. Our problem now is that Scappoose is being hit with development and it’s very time-consuming and we’re not going to be able to take over Columbia River’s [duties] as fast I thought we could,” Greisen told the board and audience last week. “Because in Scappoose, we’ve just never seen it like that before.”

Tappan also explained that while work-back agreements position an employee as a part-time or temporary hire, contracts like this for firefighters, lieutenants or fire captains hours are not limited below 40 hours a week, or a full-time schedule.

“One thing — I guess I can defend myself a little bit here —when we offer these work-back contracts to everybody in the organization, we do not put those kinds of constraints on work-backs for firefighters, so why would I not be allowed to work 40 hours a week?” Tappan asked the board. “I think there’s plenty of work to be done in the next 30, 60, 90 days.”

The board was expected to approve the final contract Thursday night after the Spotlight’s press time.